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Originally exhibited in 2018, Biomess is an artwork created by Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr. Biomess features stories, artifacts, organisms and installations that investigate the curiosities of the other creatures who inhabit the environment with us.
The artwork celebrates the incredible diversity of life and they challenge our perceptions of the concepts of “normal” and “strangeness.” The work uses luxury retail aesthetics to make unspectacular and queer life forms into objects of desire. It examines our attitudes towards, and the implications of, presenting life forms as art in a “monstrous” hybrid of culture, esthetics, and values, and acts as both a loose narrative and a critique of our anthropocentric view of life.
Director of SymbioticA
The Centre for Excellence
in Biological Arts
The School of Human Sciences
The University of Western Australia
Biomess celebrates the diversity of life and makes non-charismatic life forms into objects of desire.
Uncharismatic Natural History specimens, such as taxidermy, fixed in formaldehyde, and living, moving animals are presented on immaculate luxury display cases such as ones associated with top end jewelry stores. Alongside the cases an unfamiliar apparatus, housed in a deconstructed whitegoods/laboratory equipment, holds a flask with pink liquid.
There are many naturally occurring organisms that do not conform to human notions of identity, self, gender and sex. Through biotechnology, new life forms are constructed that defy any culturally-inspired classification. In the light of incredible diversity of natural and artificial life forms, frequent allusions to “natural” and “unnatural” in cultural debates surrounding gender and identity seem entirely unwarranted.
The curators, artists and other team members are developing the exhibition in collaboration with scientists, who are invited to propose life forms and specimens that may be included in the display. The resulting exhibition will be presented at the Weisman Art Museum.
Photo by Mike Hicks. Image in Public Domain
The Weisman Art Museum (WAM)
University of Minnesota
333 E River Pkwy
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Dr Valerie Forbes
Dean of the College
of Biological Sciences
University of Minnesota
Tri-Institutional PhD Program
in Computational Biology and Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College
New York, NY
Dr Lam Yun Wah
Department of Chemistry
City University of Hong Kong
Tat Chee Road, Kowloon Tong